What is a kola nut? It is the fruit of various species of “Cola” trees that are native to tropical Africa. These nuts contain caffeine and are used as stimulants and to aid digestion. For more kola nut information, including tips for growing kola nuts, read on.
Kola Nut Information
So exactly what is a kola nut? Kola nuts are sometime called cola nuts. They grow as nuts on several trees in the Cola genus, including Cola acuminata and Cola nitida.
The kola nut is a symbol of hospitality and kindness in the communities in its native range in Africa. Plates of these nuts are offered as gifts or brought out when visitors arrive. Although they have little taste, they are chewed to help promote digestion.
Kola nut trees were first actively cultivated in West Africa. Later, the trees were brought to Brazil and the Caribbean by Africans in the slave trade. Today, the country of Nigeria is growing kola nuts commercially and produces 70% of the world’s kola nuts.
If the world “cola” sounds familiar, that’s because the famous American soft drink is related to the kola nut. This caffeine-rich nut was used in the original cola recipe to provide the caffeine kick – along with real coca leaves.
How to Use Kola Nuts
If you want to learn how to use kola nuts, you have many choices. Today, kola nut uses have expanded and they have many uses in herbal and natural medicine.
One of the main kola nut uses is as stimulants. In addition to caffeine, the nuts contain theobromine, the ingredient that is found in chocolate and reputed to bring a sense of well-being. This may explain the mild euphoria that’s often reported when someone chews the nuts.
In addition to being stimulants, eating kola nuts may help increase oxygen levels in the blood and promote better concentration. Kola nuts are also used in tinctures to help “drive” other herbs into the blood.
Other kola nut uses include fighting infection and clearing chest colds. Some even claim that kola nuts help people lose weight by reducing appetite.
Growing Kola Nuts
If you want to start growing kola nuts, you can start by planting a few nuts in containers. When they have germinated, transplant the seedlings outside. You can also try growing kola nuts from cuttings.
You must find an outdoor planting site with deeply rich and fertile soil with excellent drainage if you decide to try growing the plant out in the garden. This works best if you live on the coast in rainforest conditions.
Kola nut information says that the trees grow to 60 feet (18 m.). This is a project that may try a gardener’s patience. It can take a decade before the trees bear nuts.